Mark Hartel


“A Riotous Beating of the Numbers” – Recapping London in Preparation for Memphis

Hey guys! First and foremost, apologies to everyone who was rightfully expecting another article to be out before the 21st. I had a load of real life issues to be sorted out (I'll spare you the details), but as a result we weren't able to get an article out in time for San Jose's Expanded Regionals. So with your permission instead of trying to catch up to a ship that's sailed..

“Don’t be Late for London” – Preparing for Internationals with Crimson Invasion

Hey everyone! There's just two weeks left until London Internationals, so it's about time we start preparing you for that if you're going. Or even if you're not, this article is going to be of use to you because it also aims to prepare you for other tournaments with the new set(s) as well, though the first American Regional after this (San Jose) is going to be Expanded.
Seviper Seismitoad

“Trash Memes” – Expanded Analysis on  Necrozma/Garbodor and Seismitoad/Seviper

Hey everyone! At the moment of writing it's the 20th of October, which means today Pokémon gave their quarterly announcement on rule changes. If you had no idea this happened or was about to happen, you're probably not the only one. Even though this is something they are going to be doing every three months, it hasn't even been half a year since they first announced their intention to do this.
Sableye Garbodor Expanded

“Day Two-Na” – The Case for Sableye/Garbodor in Daytona

Hey guys! Daytona is only moments away, so here's a last minute metagame analysis of Expanded. Fortunately Alex has covered the most important decks here in Night March, Turtonator/Volcanion, Turbo Dark, Golisopod variants and Gardevoir GX, Yveltal. Between those he's gone over most of the Top 8 of the Bilbao Special Event that was held last weekend, as that was won by Nico Alabas with Turtonator/Volcanion.

“Fun to play…but only for you” – Heatmor/Raichu/Victini Analysis

Last weekend I was at a Standard League Cup having a good time, when I saw someone next to me who didn't seem to be having one. The reason for this was because he was unable to attack every turn while his opponent was getting back things from the discard pile. Wondering if he managed to sneak a Sableye/Garbodor deck into a Standard event, I looked at what was across the field, but the colors on the field just didn't match the usual dark and psychic that you'd see with Sableye/Garbodor. Instead, there was a bunch of red and yellow...

“Burning Bugs” – Taking a Look at Ho-oh/Salazzle and Golisopod/Garbodor

Hey guys! So last weekend was the first Regional Championship in Europe with the most recent Standard ruleset in effect, and the playerbase got a pretty good look at what the greatest minds in the game were willing to bring in this format if there is real money on the line. Unsurprisingly, the star Pokémon of the weekend all have their name start with a G: Garbodor, Gardevoir, and Golisopod.

“How to Survive the Rotation” – Musings on the New Standard Format

Hey guys! Fort Wayne kicked off the first Regional of the season for a lot of players, and in the process it took away a bit of focus from the Standard format. But now it's over and the proper hunt for strong Standard decks can begin. Now, deck builders will not just have to cope with the results of the World Championships but also the loss of a full year's worth of sets that eliminates not only a good number of archetypes but also a couple of important staples.

“Extinct and Excavated” – Expectations for Expanded

Hey guys! The World Championships are right behind us and as much as I'd love to discuss what the results mean for tournaments coming up, we have a more urgent matter on our hands: Fort Wayne Regionals are right around the corner on September 2nd and 3rd. That means we have a limited amount of time and article space to help you prepare, so I'm going to leave Standard be for a tad.
Decidueye/Ninetales Deck

“The Owl and the Fox” – Decidueye/Ninetales for Worlds

Hey guys! If you’re reading this you are probably not at the World Championships right now, but you might be at home eagerly anticipating the stream and its results. The format seems to be wide open and it seems like any player with almost any deck could make it through the gauntlets of Day 1 and Day 2. One deck that I think deserves at least a bit of coverage before the event kicks off, and that’s Decidueye/Ninetales, also known as “Decidueye without Vileplume.”

“Putting the Burning Back in Burning Shadows” – Volcanion Analysis

Hey guys, The World Championships are less than a week away, and the entire Pokémon community seems to be excitedly trying to see what the best decks are with the addition of Burning Shadows. Poké has published their own piece with what they expect to be the most likely successful ones. Their assessment of the best decks seems to be similar to my own: that Burning Shadows is not going to add too many new archetypes to the format...
Espeon Garbodor Deck

“Final Performance in the New Season” – Liverpool Preview & Preparations and Reinventing Espeon/Garbodor

Hey guys! At the time of writing, Liverpool Regionals is on the horizon. It’s a bit of a strange tournament: it’s in the pre-Burning Shadows format that we all know and love, but the Championship Points count for the new season. Because of that, it’s a great way to get ahead in the Championship Point race. During the 2016-2017 season, players with early successes could take advantage of a “snowball effect” where a quick lead in Championship Points could get you a travel stipend handed out after the first quarter of the season.

On a Break – Introduction to Legacy

Hey guys! As has been mentioned before in a couple of different articles before, right now the interests of the Pokémon playerbase are rather divided. There’s no less than three standard formats that you could possibly want to be playtesting in right now. Either you are going to Liverpool Regionals or some other kind of pre-Burning Shadows tournament so you’re basically still playing current format..